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          The 6'5'' husband in question was in a decidedly foul mood, a fact made obvious by the set of his ruggedly handsome face. He seemed to look past his wife, then over her, deliberately avoiding eye contact as the glacial chips of his own vision narrowed on their surroundings. Satisfied, he shut the door and regarded the red head with disdain. When he finally spoke, his tone was reluctant.

          "I could have driven." The argument preceding the statement had been a heated one, and he had lost. Bitterly. The man hated riding passenger. As far as he was concerned, he could drive blindfolded with one leg, hands behind his back and his teeth on the steering wheel...but no.

          Oh, the joys of marriage.

          Over it, he raked his ivory hair from his eyes and leather kissed leather as their hands embraced, gravel crunching beneath their boots. A fitted black T sheathed statuesque muscle, tapering off to denim jeans slung low on the V of his hips. Tribal lines slashed the length of his left arm, blending well with the gaping hole in flesh flecked with what appeared to be ink. The nature of the tattoo was hidden beneath his shirt where defining features landscaped his torso.

          He looked pretty good for a guy who'd been shot in the forearm and fallen down a sewer a few hours ago. It had been worth it, though, in the end.

          Left arm the useless mess it was, he released the woman's hand to open the cedar doors on what lay beyond. The hall was bright and tacky. Classy? He couldn't decide as he urged her through by the small of her back and led her to the left. Once they'd reached the bar, he grasped the bend in his left arm with his right hand, cranking his torso in either direction before rolling the tension from his shoulders. He'd been fine while they had been moving, but the ride over had left him stiff, aggravation adding to the strain in his joints.

          As satisfied as he was going to be, he turned to his much smaller other half, his decidedly draconic features soft with concern. "How's your shoulder?"



          Evil is a Point of View.
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                                                  As Vince had his little conniption about riding b***h, Phoenix waved at him dismissively, rolling her eyes and smirking.

                                                  She wasn't going to let him drive with a bullet in his arm, period.

                                                  His pouting wouldn't last long anyway, she knew, so she simply let it slide off her back, concerning herself more with figuring out how she'd get the bullet in question out of his arm. This place was pretty chill, she'd seen stranger things go on here, and they could probably rent a room for the night and take care of it there.

                                                  Her brow quirked up at the idea of spending the night with him.

                                                  Jesus, how long had it been...

                                                  She had to stop herself right there...it was too soon for that.

                                                  Right?




                                                  Even in his condition he moved to open the door for her as they entered the mansion. She had been ready to open it herself when he stepped in front of her abruptly; she was so used to charging through every door she came across at Mirage that she forgot the rules of chivalry that Vince so closely followed. Phoenix had always been fiercely independent, but over the past year or so it only gotten worse. She could get used to this again, though. She had to.

                                                  "How's your shoulder?"

                                                  Glancing up at him, her eyes softened at the fact that even with such obvious discomfort he'd transfer his worry to her. Admittedly it did hurt, not enough to prevent her from using it, but enough to encourage her not to.

                                                  "I'm fine. We need to focus on taking care of you. Come on, I want to get a closer look..."

                                                  She nodded towards the left, where she saw a fireplace she was naturally drawn to and some scattered furniture that looked comfortable enough to accommodate them. As they came upon the louge-like area, she began mapping out the task before her.

                                                  Does that pocket knife of yours have tweezers in it? She asked this question gingerly, giving him an apologetic look as she lowered herself down onto a couch. She left an inviting empty space beside her. I can heat it up enough to sterilize it. Otherwise we just need something to clean the wound and wrap you with after...

                                                  Her voice trailed off, and she craned her neck to see if anyone was around to sell them a room.

                                                  I don't think we can just waltz upstairs without talking to someone...but I know the rooms here are nice. Do you want to wait or do it here?

                                                  She was eager to get the bullet out of him...she had put it there, after all.


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          Vince rolled his eyes. She was babying him entirely too much, and it was getting on his nerves. What annoyed him most, though, was how much he liked it. The way Phoenix fussed over the smallest things (yes, he considers being shot 'small') showed the depth of her love for him... something he'd sorely missed.

          He went quietly, trailing behind her without protest. Anyone standing behind him wouldn't be able to see her at all, his broad stature concealing her entirely from view.

          Does that pocket knife of yours have tweezers in it?

          "Ah... something like that." Grimacing, he dug his swiss army knife out of his pocket and sank down heavily beside her. Vince glanced it over for a moment before snapping a miniature pair of pliers into place with his thumb. He flipped it around, offering her the handle. "Just cauterize it like you did last time." That'd burn out the infection and seal it off, not to mention reduce the mess involved... though it was going to squirt once the bullet was out. He was sure of that.

          "I'll need a drink after babe. Let's get it over with -- and take this, you'll ruin your sweater." Sure, he could have done it himself, but she'd put the ******** thing in there. She could get it out. Vince caught up the fabric at the nape of his neck and pulled his shirt off over his head, sliding his good arm out first before dragging it down the other. The firelight cast deep shadows across his form, glorifying his highly defined torso into something... alien in perfection. He could have been an artist's dream brought to life, chiseled from stone with masterful precision. His tattoo, now fully revealed, seemed to shimmer in the steady glow, consuming the entire left side of his upper body. Upon careful inspection, the tribal interpretation of a Phoenix could be distinguished, its head spanning the width of his pectoral... over his heart.

          He passed her the shirt and propped his good elbow on his knee, perching his chin in the palm of his leather-clad hand. "If the pliers don't work..." His lips pressed into a tight line, nostrils flaring on a frigid exhale. "Use the scissors."

          Firelight flickered in his glacial eyes as they slid out of focus, his mind drifting away from sensation to mull over what lay ahead.



          Evil is a Point of View.
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                                                  Phoenix watched him produce the small pair of pliers, her eyes narrowing a little in anticipatory anguish for what he was about to go through. She took them gently from him, her thumb gliding along his hand as she did so affectionately.

                                                  "I'll need a drink after babe. Let's get it over with -- and take this, you'll ruin your sweater."

                                                  Babe.

                                                  That's when he went about tugging off his shirt, right in the open like that, and Phoenix instinctively scanned the immediate area around them even though she knew it was mostly empty. If she saw one pair of hungry eyes, she'd melt them out of their respective skull...especially this early in the game. She'd been without him too long to feel any other way.

                                                  Of course...she couldn't look away long. The flames behind her danced and flickered, loudly crackling twice as she took him in...no doubt in response to an inner reaction she was having. He handed her his shirt and the robust scent that was him, that was Vince, slithered up from it's thread to entice her.

                                                  All at once she was entranced...poisoned.

                                                  How could he be so casual about it? Phoenix's head tilted slightly as she found herself very much in her own world. The heat around her was building. Every shadow that dipped into the curves of his body taunted her. It had been two years. Two years without anybody after what felt like a lifetime of him. Of this.

                                                  These were all the details she'd tried so hard to forget when she had left...and it was easy to see why she'd done such a terrible job of doing just that. How could she?

                                                  "If the pliers don't work...Use the scissors."

                                                  Her gaze flicked up to his strong, flexing jaw, his flaring nostrils and drawn brow...he was the epitome of....the definition of man and all his burdens. She wanted to lift them. To make him forget everything.....

                                                  Far away from the task ahead of her, Phoenix had fallen noticeably silent, her own features only half illuminated by the fireplace beside her. Her eyelids had fallen half mast, heavy in reflection of past transgressions. Seeing his bare body like this conjured memories she had hid away inside of her, and made the fact that he was in fact back, and that this was all real, startlingly clear to her. It was almost like a punch to the gut, and suddenly she was short of breath. Overwhelmed.

                                                  Abruptly her gaze fell away and down, down to the carpet and off to the side, and she closed her eyes for a moment or two to gather and organize her thoughts. Something did manage to escape, though. A faint mummer, a shred of insight...

                                                  "I can't believe this is real..."

                                                  Perhaps it wasn't the time...but she was in no control of that, had clearly surrendered it to the forces that bound them over time and space. Was there a name for that force? Was it as simple as Love?

                                                  She looked up slowly, all too privy to that familiar, vulnerable feeling that he had no problem inducing in her. Her lips, too, were a line, but not a tight one. Their outer edges curved and dipped no matter her expression by feminine demand, their beauty perhaps paradoxically accentuated by concern and restraint.

                                                  Phoenix was very serious, very stoic now as she regarded him. Her chin lifted a bit and she breathed herself calm, but her gaze remained saturated with blatant desire. Long, thick lashes hung low even now, sweeping down to her cheeks once before she finally made a progressive move, her fingers catching the loop that dangled from the zipper of her hoody and pulled down...slowly.

                                                  She didn't want to ruin it, after all. It was white. She had to.

                                                  The distinctive contour of her breasts became visible, and the flames grew to accommodate every detail. They were only accentuated by a bra trimmed in black lace that erotically fanned up over it's brim, pale flesh serving as a backdrop to their intricate design. Carefully she studied his face for clues and cues as the zipper parted, cold metal kissing her stomach as she arched her back to straighten it's course. Firelight was thrown against frosted porcelain flesh, smooth and flawless, dipping down to her belly button and beyond until the metallic seam fell apart and away.

                                                  He'd see the top half of his artfully etched name peeking out from where her leather pants began...but they weren't low enough to show the entire phrase.

                                                  That was alright. He knew.

                                                  He'd see her throat move as she swallowed, her shoulders sinking back behind her so the fabric could glide down her slender arms. The motion accented the camber of her collar bones, perfectly framed by two black bra straps against a blank canvas. One arm slid free from it's sleeve, and her still-gloved hand came around to peel the other sleeve off and away.

                                                  The hoody came to rest over the arm of the couch, out of harms way.

                                                  The hand that did not hold the pliers came up to her lips, and her lip curled up as she bit the edge of her glove and pulled her hand out of it, keeping her eyes trained on him all the while in silent communication.

                                                  The hand that held the pliers would remain gloved.

                                                  She tore her eyes from his own, bringing them down to the wound before she finally spoke.

                                                  Ready?

                                                  Giving him little to no chance to respond, hoping the display was all enough to distract him as hard as he had distracted her, the already hot metal sunk into his flesh and pursued it's target with the firm guidance of a trained hand.

                                                  It would take a moment of unfortunate digging, but as quickly as she had dived in, she'd pull back out with a bullet....and sure enough, it's exile was followed by a few pulses of blackened blood that spurted thick streams across her chest and face. She blinked in mild surprise, looking up at him after a moment with a slow smile.

                                                  It was uncanny. She had to laugh at least a little, her tongue emerging to trace her lips for a sample as she quirked a suggestive brow at him.



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Yuki smiles softly at Lexi, he never had this kindness in such a long time. His head slowly moves the the one side as he, purrs more and more, loving her petting and patting on the head, Lexis hand was so soft and warm, just like his real mother used till be, till she sold Yuki. Yuki then lay on his side on the sofa, it was a little painful, but he just wanted to be comfy as most cats do.

Silver puts the glass down and then slowly leans back on the couch as he looks at her with a soft smile. "To tell you the truth, I do not know, After my wife died, there wasn't much going on with my life, I have three great sons and I own a hospital, the police in my area, but I don't think going to the hospital right now, would be good for this little one....If I would of gotten to that horrible place sooner I would of saved more of the children.... but if I did.... no I wouldn't want to talk about it but I saved this neko Yuki, which I'm glad in more ways then one."

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          The pain was little more than a vapid echo in the darker recesses of Vincent's mind, his eyes transfixed on a now blazing fire that he couldn't, for the life of him, see. He could feel her looking at him; it was tangible, a scorching kiss that traversed his every facet with...

          He pushed the thought away, adam's apple audibly sawing the length of his throat. No.

          No.

          The silence between them swelled with unspoken tension, punctuated by two explosive cracks from the fire. Vince looked away. It was hard enough to control himself, a discipline he had lacked in all his life, without her desire flaring to fervent heights in his vision. She was impossible to ignore. The heat rolled off of her, potent with the air-born aphrodisiac that was Phoenix, that was... home. Memories were kindled from ashen coals, igniting with a vengeance , with hunger for confirmation.

          "I can't believe this is real..."

          His eyes rose as hers fell away, the pedestal of his arm thudding to his lap as he studied her profile with concern. The tone of voice had roused him, restoring some semblance of composure and... caution.

          Was she going to start crying again? s**t...

          As her face turned up to his, he probed her eyes for tears and damn near unraveled right then. He was trapped, pale lips parting on a tumultuous breath that emptied his lungs and then some. He worked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, desperate to restore moisture that had abruptly evaporated from the searing connection he could no longer avoid.

          s**t. s**t s**t s**t s**t s**t.

          Her hand rose to her throat, and he followed its descent-

          down...
          down......
          down........

          - but got caught along the way. Talk about a road block. Two symmetrical curves arched apart, cradled in black lace that left very little to the imagination. It didn't matter. He could remember... vividly. Again that little voice roared for confirmation, stoked to a frenzy by the ghost of her on his palette as he inhaled, and held. He'd have been drooling if his mouth wasn't so ******** dry, enamored as he was with the flawless expanse of her. His breathing ebbed and flowed and ebbed again in a constant, corrosive tide that betrayed his resolve, each circuit setting his teeth on edge. The knuckles of his good hand were white with the strain of his coiled fist.

          Vince had never understood the point of lingerie. It looked great and all, but at the end of the day it was just one more thing in the way of what he wanted, another set of clothes to rip away in pursuit of natural beauty that could not be bested by all the silk, lace and leather in the world.

          He couldn't be bothered to look around, couldn't give a s**t who saw. Any outside admiration of his wife was a compliment to him, because she was his. Would always be his. He'd crush the skull of anyone who had the audacity to touch her, but they could torture themselves to insanity with her beauty and he wouldn't bat a lash of protest.

          Even if he was the type, that wouldn't pose an issue now as his knees relaxed further apart. From what he could tell from their place by the fire they were, inconveniently, alone.

          It was inconvenient because he'd spent the last few hours restraining himself from anything beyond a peripheral assessment of her body. Vince hadn't trusted himself to really look -- not yet -- but now he saw the invitation in her eyes, in the curve of her mouth as she drew her glove away between her teeth. The distinct upper arcs of her tattoo were taunting him from her waistline, his own name half concealed between the defining 'V' contour of her hips, and his fanciful inclination to abstinence went up in smoke. He'd been determined to behave for a few days. Maybe even a week, if she really wanted to push it...

          "Ready?"

          More's the pity, there was no chance of that now.

          Torrid air hissed passed his teeth and down his throat, his jaw flexing as Phoenix drove the pliers down into his forearm. Bass tones rumbled through his chest to seethe through clenched incisors, vocalizing much more than pain in a beastly tenor that thrummed down to his very bones.

          Though the rest of his muscles had been coiled with dual tensions for some time now, miraculously he kept his left arm loose so the bullet could come away without resistance. What he hadn't anticipated was the virility of his veins as they painted that perfect canvas black, jetting out to burst ...artfully.... across his talented nurse's face, her chest, dripping down to saturate her bra and pool between its charges.

          Surprise!?

          Phoenix must have registered the shock in his face as her tongue slicked the stain from her lips. She smiled that excellent smile of pure victory on all accounts, and the cacophony of his thoughts compacted itself into two brief syllables of rhetoric while he hooked her opposite knee in his ample grasp and pulled her across his lap. The cold weight of his hand traversed her thigh, scaling the silky hourglass of her body until his palm lingered to the side of her neck. Long digits laced through her choppy main, coaxing her head back to reveal the graceful arch of her throat...

          Vince's lips pressed into the hollow, grazing their way up to the soft patch just below her ear where she could not only hear his words, but feel them.

          "Are you?"

          His wound iced over, halting one flow in anticipation of another. It was an extended courtesy that he'd asked, that much was evident. There could be only one answer.

          As far as Vince was concerned, she'd given it.



          Evil is a Point of View.
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I'm a good man. I've done terrible things. But I'm a good man.



There were dangerous people, and then there was Nikolai. Nikolai had to register many things at once. A Neko and a wounded child. It seemed that the Rose was becoming a hospital, or some sort of recovery building. Because a married couple came in, and the husband (or the girly looking white-haired ******** of a man) had a bullet in his arm, and he could believe what the ******** was happening several seconds afterwords.

Seriously.

Nikolai's body stood in the hallway that led to the bar-area, just at the edge of the stairs. Lexi was tending to some other people, and Nikolai had other duties to attend to. Like, as much as he hated it, making sure a horny nurse and girly-man didn't ******** each other's brains out. They had rooms for that. The Rose was classy, but not that classy that they didn't want people to enjoy themselves. They just rather hated it when people did it where the entire ******** bar could see it. Nikolai moved like a snake, though, despite his massive height of 6'9, he moved rather quietly, and danced around the tables elegantly. It was a way to move he had picked up from many years of warfare, graceful and precise, and very downright dangerous. He stood over the couple, glancing to them both. His eyes crackled with fire, dancing around in his pupil's in a circular pattern. And if you were silent, you could hear the crackle of fire, but the fire near them occupied that sound-pattern. So he just was happy with crouching next to them. He placed his hand on the man, and without saying a word, looked at his wife, dead a** in the face. The tattoo (it was more like it was part of him, the way it was crafted into his skin) on his arm glowed, brightly and purely white, with a slight blueish tint, and for a moment, his eyes matched. He took his hand off of the man. His arm was as if it were never shot, but all that remained was a small mark that glowed brightly white for a moment, then faded slowly, and then eventually disappeared. Nikolai moved to a table, and placed the chair in front of the couch.

He spoke in a fading Russian accent, and his hands were folded in a fatherly-like way. Now that the initial shock was over, it was obvious that Nikolai was a frequenter of the bar, or even an owner. In reality, he was the cook, bouncer, cleaner, and..pretty much everything for the past few years. His muscles were defined, and generally...large. Bulky and massive, was the best way to describe him. But it was so elegant in the way that he moved, the way that he talked, that contradicted most immediate thoughts about him, about his size, about what generally went with such a massive size, and Russians in general."The best way I can put this...and forgive the cliche...but please, get a room. If you would like a room, all are available except the locked one. That is Miss Roseli's...and I's...room."He paused, realizing that he just said that Lexi and him were going to be sharing a room without consulting her first. Awkward.He shook his head, and glanced back to the two people in front of him."Assuming you're both idiots, any decline of this offer will literally, get you kicked out of the bar with same force of a train going sixty-miles an hour. I suggest taking my kind offer, or getting the ******** out. Welcome to the Rose, please enjoy your stay. I am Nikolai, I am...the cook. Come to me for all of your culinary, spiritual, and household needs."He added the last bit in rather sarcastically, although he kept a rather straight face on the entire time.
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                                                  It was a delicious thing, having such a large, powerful, cold hand trace up the curvature of her body. Almost like a plash of ice water against her back, quick and fleeting, a refreshing reminder of how complimentary their union had always been, by nature.

                                                  The fire was smoldering behind them, leaning in with devotion for it's shepherd as she hummed delightfully in the arms of her lover.

                                                  Things were going well. She was beginning to map out exactly how they were going to get upstairs, even taking a breath to coax him into carrying her up the nearby stairwell, when she felt the approach of another.

                                                  He could be as stealthy as he wanted, but he was a ******** goliath, and gravity always wins. The floor would make at least one or two sounds to alert her, and Phoenix would look up slowly, her golden eyes aglow in the low-light of the fire.

                                                  It began to burn with less conviction as he got closer...

                                                  ...In other words, he was killing her buzz.

                                                  He probably expected it to be warmer by the fire, but not this warm. If he was smart, it would be clear who was responsible for the dry, pulsing heat that surrounded them, their immediate vicinity like an oven...unless Vince decided to balance things out. His skin was cold even in against the sauna around them; he truly was the only man who could handle her.

                                                  It was pretty odd, though, to see someone who was actually bigger than her husband. It did nothing to convince her that Vince couldn't still lay the guy out, but unlike most men, this one might actually pose a challenge.

                                                  He still wasn't Vince, though. Even if their tattoos were freaking uncanny....

                                                  Nudging Vince a little to warn him, she nodded towards the man as he got closer, and slid down so that she rested in a straddle on Vince's knee. She was wearing her bra, leather pants and combat boots, and Vince was shirtless just as the man before them.

                                                  Without warning, the man actually put his hand on Vince. Her eyebrows went up, and she considered lashing out...until she realized that he was actually healing the wound on Vince's arm. A small peace offering? She'd remain open minded....

                                                  However, as he began to speak, a lethargic look sunk into Phoenix's fragile features. Did he really think they were going to start going at it right here? Sure things had gotten heated, but they had been mostly alone, and considering everything they'd been through they had every reason to get a little carried away. If he hadn't been laid in two years, he would....

                                                  Well...

                                                  Phoenix gave him a once over and reconsidered, because something about him irked her, and she probably wasn't the only fish in the sea that found him obnoxious. She decided it was his hair.

                                                  "Assuming you're both idiots, any decline of this offer will literally, get you kicked out of the bar with same force of a train going sixty-miles an hour"

                                                  Phoenix actually laughed, making no attempt to hide her amusement as she rolled her eyes slowly and turned away from him, reaching for her hoody. Please.

                                                  Sounds like a pretty slow train, love.

                                                  She muttered this, but it was certainly audible.

                                                  "I suggest taking my kind offer, or getting the ******** out."

                                                  She unfolded the acquired sweatshirt without acknowledging this, then swung it around her lithe frame so that she could weave her arms into each of the sleeves. Tattooed fingers worked the zipper to conceal her exposed flesh, and then she moved on to retrieving her gloves as he began his bogus introduction of the Golden Rose.

                                                  "Welcome to the Golden Rose, please enjoy your----"

                                                  Oh Christ, SAVE it.

                                                  The Brit snapped, cutting him off abruptly without looking up. Phoenix was not one for that forced-smile bullshit. It was nice of him to heal her husband, but it was nothing he couldn't handle on his own. She slid on one glove and flexed her fingers before moving on to the next, giving Vince an expectant, annoyed glance that said Shall we?



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          Vince was on fire.

          The pyro's hum of pleasure trilled pleasantly through his teeth as they grazed her flesh, one thick digit tracing the path of her spine. He knew she loved that, his fingertips like ice cubes glazing along her most sensitive facets with slow, practiced precision.

          Did he register the approaching footsteps? Sure, but at that moment he was rather... far away. In a very happy place where nothing and no one could c**k block him. Or so he thought.

          Phoenix angled her jaw to the side, offering him full and uninterrupted access to her neck. His lips played along the ivory expanse as his mind wandered to where they should go. Did he want to stay here? Not particularly. A greater craving had taken hold in lieu of his thirst -- whiskey could wait. There would be plenty of time for that later, somewhere else. Anywhere else. Right now, he had everything he could possibly desire smoldering in his arms... At least, she had been a moment ago. He paused as her temperature tapered off, the nudge eliciting a mumbled protest. "Five more minutes..."

          She was so damn impatient. He felt no great urgency as he buried his face against her scalding neck; he could sit like this for hours, dragging it out until he drove them both to the edge. It was all Vince could do to be gentle, to keep from pulling her so tight against him that she'd melt into him and he'd never have to worry about a damn thing again so long as he lived.

          So rapt was his attention to the woman in his lap that it took him a moment to realize the touch to is wound wasn't hers. Phoenix tensed with both hands on him; the third was... alien.

          "I'm busy."

          Irksome.

          ... Large?

          Light flared white and pure from his left, half mast eyes squinting further as a bizarre but vaguely familiar sensation diminished a pain he'd forgotten entirely. Life had dealt him far worse blows than a shot to the arm, and he had the nerve to be... well, pissed. He hadn't asked for help, didn't want it. He'd been content with Phoenix in his lap, and the interruptionwas not welcome, a fact made clear by the raised tendons of his freshly restored forearm.

          Vince isn't the kind of man you carelessly put your hands on, no matter the nature of your intentions. Under regular circumstances, he would have demonstrated why. As it was, Phoenix was straddling his thigh, his eyes were adjusting from the sudden burst of light, and he was morbidly curious about the features manifesting in his vision as the light began to fade. Massive shoulders, a skeletal face set in a predominantly bare skull, and what looked like some sort of... dead animal...

          The hand withdrew to the source as it rose to a towering height-

          !?

          -and retreated briefly to retrieve a chair. That's funny, he couldn't recall an invitation on their part. Vince reclined into the couch, throwing an arm over the back in the picture of manly comfort while he idly picked a crevice between a lateral incisor and a canine.

          The seat was placed across from them, dwarfed comically by the Goliath of a man who then perched upon it. The blinding light had come from a tribal tattoo that... entirely wrapped the left side of his torso. A brow arched, his upper lip twitching in unison as further analysis led to distinction. Where his own tattoo slashed in sharp angles, the other curled with soft edges up from the hand that had healed him to the man's shoulder, its face manifesting across a bulging pectoral. Dragon and Phoenix stared each other down as their respective owners locked eyes, realization dawning on Vince in an instant. He recognized the sensation now, understood its source beyond a shadow of a doubt.

          Angel.

          "The best way I can put this...and forgive the cliche...but please, get a room. If you would like a room, all are available except the locked one. That is Miss Roseli's...and I's...room."

          "Hm." What the ******** was an angel, an ancient no less, doing in a place like this? The creature was timeless, Had heaven fallen so far in years gone past, its righteous children reduced to meandering about earthly dives to scrounge up a coin or two?

          "Assuming you're both idiots-"

          Well that certainly got his attention. Vincent propped his sculpted forearms on his denim-clad thighs as Phoenix moved aside to retrieve her things, regarding the being with blatant condescension.

          "-any decline of this offer will literally, get you kicked out of the bar with same force of a train going sixty-miles an hour."

          "Is that so." An eerie calm had settled over Vince, his frigid disposition perforating the air around them. His temper was barely in check as he weighed the options before him. To call the bluff, or not to call the bluff. The fight would no doubt be worth while...

          "Sounds like a pretty slow train, love."

          -or not. Chances are, Phoenix had no idea who or what this gigantic fellow was. Benevolent, perhaps, but formidable... and still he chuckled at her dismissal. Phoenix, his little spit fire. She had a big mouth...

          Generally put to good use.

          Vince pursed his lips in speculation as the elder rambled on. This guy talked entirely too much for his taste, lecturing away with superior airs. There was nothing superior about God's most divine creation bouncing riffraff from some insignificant tavern on an insignificant street, in an insignificant world. It was kind of sad, actually.

          Belatedly, he realized what he'd mistook for a dead animal was a strip of dark hair flopped awkwardly atop the Russian's head. It had taken him a moment to pin down the accent, subdued as it was, but he had it now.

          "Oh Christ, SAVE it."

          Vince spared a glance for his arm, no trace of the wound remaining. "Thanks Nikolai. We'll let ourselves out." Bracing his hands on his knees, he rose to his full stature and caught up his shirt, which he promptly slung over his shoulder. A hand to the small of Phoenix's back would urge her along; he was in no mood for a confrontation with the enemy. The angel had healed his arm, welcome or not, which took precedence over the hot air he'd so brazenly blown up their asses.

          They had dealt with enough bullshit for one day. He was too mentally exhausted to bother with this, a fact Phoenix would certainly note when she got past the initial shock of how he'd handled the situation. He'd explain in the car; she wouldn't be disappointed with his choice now that they could pursue their initial plan of finding somewhere private to hole up for the night.

          For what may have been the first time and could very well be the last, the Donovins left in peace.



          Evil is a Point of View.
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                                                  She was somewhat surprised that they had left so quietly, but overall she knew it was what was best. They had plenty of other things to do and to figure out.

                                                  Like which identity she wanted to keep. The very thought had her rubbing her temples.

                                                  To go back to Phoenix meant to tell everyone she wasn't really dead, and to put her back on the map, bounty and all. To go back to Ira would leave her with a lot of explaining to do, and her company was probably wondering where it's founder was since that fire drill...which turned out to be anything but a drill.

                                                  She had impulsively chopped off all her hair, making herself that much more vulnerable to the lie that Ira was built on. It was a heavy weight, and instead of moving forward with the facade she was now trying to backpedal. With all the momentum she had, though, it wasn't going to be easy.

                                                  Maybe she'd grow a mustache and be someone ELSE. ******** it, right?

                                                  As they reached the car, Phoenix was quiet in thought, gravitating towards the passenger seat to avoid an argument. Hooking the handle, she opened the door and slid in gracefully Gloved fingers traveled first to her pack of cigarettes in the glove compartment, which sat next to her pistol, before migrating to the radio and flicking it on.

                                                  As the window rolled down and her cigarette smoldered to life, a news reporter chirped from every speaker in the car.

                                                  "THIS JUST IN! A small gang of bounty hunters that go by the name Swoon have been spotted raiding a small tavern in the heart of the Guildhall Ward called The Black Cherry."

                                                  Phoenix choked on her first drag of smoke, coughing violently and sitting up, her eyes wide, one hand on her throat.

                                                  WHAT THE ********]

                                                  "They are holding hostages inside, claiming that if the police interfere at all with their search for a head that has been proclaimed deceased for over two years, there will be casualties."

                                                  Phoenix looked desperately at Vince, her mouth slightly open, speechless.

                                                  "While local police have asked us not to disclose the name of the person they are searching for, it has been made clear to us that this was once a place the person frequented. Swoon claims they have reason to believe this person is alive and well, and that they will undoubtedly return here soon."

                                                  [********! FUUCK!


                                                  Phoenix slammed the glove compartment shut, her head falling back against the headrest and her eyes shut tight. Swoon. Swoon.

                                                  She wasn't even sure if Vince remembered who they were, but they were not like the other bounty hunters. She had very personal connections with them...and they did not ******** around.

                                                  They're gonna kill Valkyrie and Jade.

                                                  Her voice came out horse, quiet, accepting.

                                                  Even if I show up, they'll do it just to spite me.



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          Vince dug in his pocket for his cigarette case, lodged a filter between his lips and opened the driver's side door. He spared a glance for the street, looking around briefly before he sank in behind the wheel, thrust his key in the ignition and cranked the engine to life. It was still light outside, late afternoon judging by the lengthy shadows contrasting the drab coloration of this particular district. Detritus scampered along in a sudden gale, shop chimes erupting in a brief prelude to the blast of the radio.

          His hand hovered over the stick shift as the emergency broadcast blared to life:

          "THIS JUST IN! A small gang of bounty hunters that go by the name Swoon have been spotted raiding a small tavern in the heart of the Guildhall Ward called The Black Cherry."

          His big mitt progressed to the pyro's thigh, giving it a sympathetic squeeze as her lungs violently evacuated.

          WHAT THE ********]

          "Shhh. Just listen." Vince calmly lit his cigarette and snapped the zippo shut, his vision honed on the radio.

          "They are holding hostages inside, claiming that if the police interfere at all with their search for a head that has been proclaimed deceased for over two years, there will be casualties."

          The hopeless look in his wife's eyes, the bleak set of her visage, had him shaking his head with a furrowed brow. Vince listened pensively, his earlier calm remaining through the duration of the announcement. He chaffed his stubbled jaw as Phoenix had her outburst and plucked his aviators from the dashboard.

          They're gonna kill Valkyrie and Jade. Even if I show up, they'll do it just to spite me.

          Vince secured the shades on the bridge of his nose and hit the gas, the nondescript sedan grinding over gravel before sliding smoothly onto the main street. "No names were given. Use your head babe; I doubt anyone from swoon could get the drop on Valk. Maybe Jade, but she's hardly there anymore." As an after thought, he added, "I check in from time to time."

          He wasn't trying to brush it off as nothing. Her concern for her friends was genuine and therefore Vince gave a s**t by default, but he was skeptical. Knowing what the answer would be but pressing his luck anyways, he cut a peripheral look her way and let off the pressure with his boot, decelerating to a laggard cruise. "I could send someone to have a look. Drop you somewhere and check it out myself... this is my fault."

          If it was a trap, he'd rather she not be there. He did, in fact, remember the gang from past conversations, and if Phoenix could evade them and hold her own for so long...

          Vince shouldn't have any trouble at all.



          Evil is a Point of View.
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                                                  He remained calm in the face of conflict, as always. Phoenix was sucking down her cigarette angrily as he tried to reassure her, but she couldn't listen long.

                                                  "No names were given. Use your head babe; I doubt anyone from swoon could get the drop on Valk. Maybe Jade, but she's hardly there anymore."

                                                  No...no Vince, please, don't underestimate them. It'll get you killed.

                                                  She hoped he'd realize what a lofty statement that was.

                                                  Collectively they could certainly get the jump on Valkyrie. I learned almost everything I know from them. They're not to be taken lightly...

                                                  She paused, trying to figure a way to get the message across to him.

                                                  Imagine eight of me, but more organized....and with diverse powers.

                                                  Oh!

                                                  And imagine all eight of me are incredibly pissed off.


                                                  A disgruntled sigh passed through her, her golden eyes flicking to the passenger window as if the answer lay somewhere on the horizon.

                                                  "I could send someone to have a look. Drop you somewhere and check it out myself... this is my fault."

                                                  It's absolutely not your fault.

                                                  Her voice became low.

                                                  It's mine. They're after me for a reason. But why now....





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          Phoenix had a point. The Sedan surged forward as he accelerated down a side road, taking a shorter path to the warehouse district. Releasing the shift in favor of her hand, he laced his fingers with hers, stroking her wrist with his thumb.

          "Bad example. I could ******** eight of you into submission." He gave her hand a squeeze, his singular mission to keep her relaxed while they formulated a course of action. He wouldn't press the fault issue further; they both knew her friends wouldn't be in danger if not for their confrontation today. Vince had blown her cover, should have known better than to pursue her.

          It was his fault she'd went off the grid to begin with. It all came back to him.

          "They're probably pissed off Phoenix. You deceived them and they fell for it. It's gone beyond a personal vendetta; their reputation is at stake now."

          He fell silent, burning a good quarter of the cigarette in a single haul. When Vince spoke up again, his resignation was evident in his tone, a steady stream of carcinogens trailing his every word. There was no way she'd stay behind and let him deal with it himself. If he tried to stop her she'd fight him every step of the way, and if anything happened to Valkyrie or Jade, her hatred of him would be parallel only to the depth of her guilt at having done nothing to stop it.

          "I'll call Malphas; he can transmogrify and scope the place out for us while we prepare. Tell me where to go."



          Evil is a Point of View.
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Lavish Lover

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        ȶhe scars of your ღloveღ
        ȶ
        hey leave me breathless
        I can't help
        ȶhinking,
        We could have had it
        αll...



            As Lexi had waited for Silver to respond, a car pulled up outside. Peaking her crimson eyes upward, the white haired bar owner bit her bottom lip. It was quite a surprise to her that more people would be showing up. The place had been so quiet lately she had almost gotten used to the silence. Well, what silence there was when Nikolai and herself were not filling it with their words. As the two entered, one white haired like herself and the other a fiery red female, Lexi realized Silver was speaking again. Blinking, she gave him a soft smile to show that she was listening. He had ties elsewhere, but he did not seem to connected to them. That was odd. Why wouldn't he want to return to what he knew? "No, the hospital might frighten him.." Lexi began, glancing down at the purring little child. It was quite an adorable scene, but Lexi knew that she couldn't give all her attention. The other two who had entered seemed to have a bit of an issue with wounds. Apparently the Rose was a beacon for those that needed refuge. Not that it hadn't been that way before.

            "But ah.. will you ho--" Lexi was about to go over and see if the couple needed any help at all. The female was doing some good surgery on the male, and chances were they were going to need a stiff drink after and perhaps a room to rest in. Hell, Lexi needed a place to rest in just after dealing with one injured customer. As her body began to stand, Nikolai finally emerged. That eased her worries, and she sat back down to rest and sit with Silver.

            Well, her worries were eased until she noticed the two newest patrons getting up to leave with sour looks on their faces. Flicking her crimson eyes in a glare over to Nikolai, Lexi gritted her teeth. What did he say to make them leave!? Didn't he realize they needed the customers... the money? How else were they going to pay for any repairs? It's not like they had any magical ways to fix up broken chairs or buy more bottles of vodka. Okay so maybe Nikolai had some pull but seriously! Once the two had left, Lexi huffed and stood. "Excuse me a moment, Silver."

            Moving over to Nikolai, Lexi let her small hand grip his forearm, standing on the tips of her toes to reach her lips nearer to his ear. "Is that the plan now? Scare all our customers away?" she asked him, obviously disappointed. Sure, the couple might have been a bit more affectionate openly than others but it wasn't like they were ready to bang on the bar floor. Pink lips turned to a frown as she moved back to her normal height, her eyes studying Nikolai's features. With a sigh, she shook her head and moved to the bar. Now it was Lexi who needed a drink.

            [[ Sorry for not responding folks, was busy this week/weekend...
            Ah hopefully Phoenix and Vincent will come back and get better service~]]

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